S: NCBI – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMHT0023008/ (last access: 3 April 2015); NHS – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/blepharitis/ (last access: 29 November 2019).
N: 1. Etymology: Gk, blepharon + itis.
2. Inflammation of the eyelids; called also palpebritis.
3. Blepharitis occurs in two forms:
- Anterior blepharitis affects the outside front of the eyelid, where the eyelashes are attached. The two most common causes of anterior blepharitis are bacteria (Staphylococcus) and scalp dandruff.
- Posterior blepharitis affects the inner eyelid (the moist part that makes contact with the eye) and is caused by problems with the oil (meibomian) glands in this part of the eyelid. Two skin disorders can cause this form of blepharitis: acne rosacea, which leads to red and inflamed skin, and scalp dandruff (seborrheic dermatitis).
4. Cultural Interrelation: We can mention the opening scene from the movie The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007), directed by Andrew Dominik.
What medical malady could have caused Jesse’s problems of “granulated eyelids,” occasional eyelid swelling and frequent blinking reported by these different sources?
First, consider trachoma, a highly communicable, progressively destructive, bacteria–like organism that is still the world’s leading cause of blindness.
Dr. Paul Roemer noted in his 1912 Textbook of Ophthalmology, “…we shall be obliged to define trachoma …as the follicular disease of the conjunctiva (eye membrane) that results in cicatrization (scar formation).”
The clinical course of such an infection, beginning in a youngster and left effectively untreated for decades, would have resulted in more severe complications and clinically obvious signs in Jesse than appeared to have occurred. I cannot find any evidence that he suffered from progressive conjunctival scarring or visual impairment during his lifetime.
Next, consider “granulated eyelids,” known today as eyelid inflammation or “blepharitis.”
S: 1. TFD – http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/blepharitis – Mosby’s Medical Dictionary, 9th edition. © 2009, Elsevier (last access: 12 May 2015). 2. DORLAND p. 225. 3. NCBI – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMHT0023008/ (last access: 3 April 2015). 4. TWM – http://www.truewestmagazine.com/jcontent/history/history/frontier-doc/2677-jesse-blue-eyes (last access: 3 April 2015); YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2gY_e1ZKD8 (footage: 1:34-1:37) (last access: 19 January 2016).
SYN: 1. palpebritis. 2. lippa.